Title

FROM COMMUTER RAIL TO REGIONAL RAIL: OPERATING PRACTICES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

Authors

J G. Allen

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1998

Subject Area

mode - rail

Keywords

Upgrading, Updating, Railroad commuter service, Modernization, Level of service, Efficiency, Economic efficiency, Commuter rail

Abstract

Several low-cost, low-technology measures can upgrade service levels and reduce unit costs of operation on commuter railroads. By gradually implementing one-person operation and other techniques borrowed from rapid transit, busier commuter rail properties can emulate the frequency and comfort of such modern regional rail transit lines as the Port Authority Transit Corporation, Bay Area Rapid Transit, and the Washington Metro. Metra Electric (formerly the Illinois Central Electric) offers an example of how these measures might be implemented. In their heyday, the Illinois Central Electric and other commuter railroads provided service of similar quality to today's regional rapid transit lines. Today these commuter lines operate at needlessly low levels of efficiency, but these measures should help commuter railroads develop their potential. The result should be a win-win situation: more efficiency for management, more jobs for labor (as a result of more frequent service), and more service for customers.